Founded by Alois Ruf Sr. in 1939, RUF began as a small Porsche service shop in the town of Pfaffenhausen, Germany, before venturing into vehicle design, building a tour bus in 1955. Decades later, this exploration would propel the business to one of the most respected performance tuning, manufacturing, and restoration companies in the world.
In 1977, RUF presented its first completely re-engineered model built on an unmarked chassis of the 930 (911 Turbo) supplied by Porsche, and in 1983, the first car to wear a RUF chassis number, the RUF BTR, was launched. More recently, RUF debuted its RUF Rodeo Concept, a blend of a sports car and off-roader, packaged into a beefed-up 911. Better known for models such as the 1987 CTR Yellowbird, which rose to fame when featured in 1989’s Faszination on the Nüburgring, RUF has also created other relatively unknown tuned and re-imagined models.
Here are five RUF models you probably didn’t know about:
Making its debut at the 1999 Essen Motor Show, the 2001 RUF 3400S in Viper Green is a tuned Porsche Boxster with the heart of a 996 Carrera. Producing 310 horsepower from its upgraded Carrera 3.4-liter flat-six engine, the RUF 3400S packs a punch while maintaining a low-key appearance.
eRUF Model A
The rear-drive eRUF Model A is an all-electric 911 introduced by RUF as a concept in 2008. Using UQM Technologies to generate power from electric motors, the eRUF boasts a 0-60 mph time of around five seconds and a top speed of 140 mph, courtesy of its all-electric 201 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. On a single charge, the estimated range was stated as 155-199 miles—of course, your mileage may vary depending on your driving style. The eRUF Model A was succeeded by the better-known and more powerful eRUF Greenster. Neither concept reached production.
Taking home the trophy for the oddball of this little-known bunch, the RUF Dakara is based on the Porsche Cayenne and prides itself on a lavishly decorated interior. Featuring wider fenders, 911 headlights, and 22-inch five-spoke wheels among other upgrades, the RUF Dakara has a somewhat dorky yet menacing look. Under the hood is a tuned V-8 cranking out 591 horsepower and 656 pound-feet of torque.
RUF VW T4
Perhaps one of the grooviest RUF-tuned models on this list is the RUF VW T4. Armed with a 993 911 Turbo 3.6-liter twin-turbo engine, this free-spirited Volkswagen van boasts 522 horsepower, enabling its boxy form to sprint to 60 mph in approximately five seconds. Inside, the RUF VW T4 proudly sports the Porsche crescent on the steering wheel and Recaro bucket seats.
RUF RT Roadster
Inspired by the soft-window 1967 Porsche 911 Targa, the 997-based 2011 RUF RT Roadster features a silver rollover bar, a soft rear window, and a removable carbon roof. Limited to three examples, the RT Roadster’s 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder, rated at 560 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, can take this bespoke Targa from a standstill to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds.